Who has the last laugh? Punjab to hear today | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Who has the last laugh? Punjab to hear today

chandigarh Updated: Mar 06, 2012 08:51 IST
Manpreet Randhawa
Manpreet Randhawa
Hindustan Times
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It has been a cliffhanger for Punjab's 1,078 candidates, cutting across party lines for more than a month, who have waited with bated breaths to see the outcome of their political fate sealed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) on January 30.

The stakes were high for both the principal political parties in Punjab. While Indian National Congress (INC) led in the state by Capt Amarinder Singh was banking heavily on anti-incumbency and 'highhandedness' of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Badal) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance government, the latter was sure it would buck the earlier trend under the leadership of SAD (B) leader Sukhbir Singh Badal.

It was a do-or-die battle for both Capt Singh and Sukhbir as they knew that if they were unable to make it this time, it would not be easy to stage a comeback in the near future.

Considering Capt Amarinder's not-so-good health, losing the polls would probably mean his 'last hurrah' in Punjab politics. Though age is on Sukhbir's side (49), a loss for his party would surely make it hard for him to keep his flock together.

A win for Sukhbir assumes all the more significance given the fact that his father and chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has turned 84.

Another worrying factor for both Capt Singh and Sukhbir has been the growing acceptance of Manpreet Singh Badal among the youth.

Ever since Manpreet parted ways with the SAD, under the grip of his cousin Sukhbir, the former vowed to decimate the Akalis.

Both Capt Singh and Sukhbir know that even if Manpreet's candidates are unable to win a seat, they would surely spoil their party.

Most exit polls so far have given a very lopsided picture of Punjab poll results. While some are giving a wafer-thin majority to Congress, some have gone with the Akalis who they predict will barely scrape through.

A couple of news channels have also predicted a hung House. In fact, this has left the viewers and the readers even more confused.

As a result, both the Congress and the SAD-BJP alliance are upbeat and are hopeful of reaching the magic figure of 59, out of total 117 constituencies in Punjab.

While the Akalis contested 94 seats, its alliance partner BJP was in the fray from another 23 seats. Both the Congress and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) fielded candidates from all 117 constituencies.

PPCC chief Capt Singh after watching the exit polls on news channels said that most had no clue about the outcome of elections.

"The Congress will surely get more than 70 seats and hence form the government comfortably. I wonder why no survey agency can see this and predict it correctly," added Capt Singh.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal on the other hand predicts a sweeping majority for the SAD-BJP alliance. "Just wait for the results and you will all be in for a big surprise. Akalis will not only form the government but would win the polls with thumping majority. We will create history this time," added Sukhbir.